Which pro game to memorise first?!

So, I’ve decided to memorise a pro game - but there are so many! Which one to memorise first? A classic, a modern one, one with a cool name, an AlphaGo one, something obscure … ?
I don’t want to start a discussion of whether or not it’s good thing to do. I’m hoping that anyone who has memorised pro games might say which they chose first and why and if they’d recommend that particular game to start with or not. Or if you are planning to memorise a pro game but haven’t yet, which one are you aiming to start with or which are on your short list and why. Many thanks!


Note: Video no longer available.

o Pro games o


I reckon for your first, why not chose a famous game with rich commentary?

Then you can look at the commentary and it may help your memorisation, and assist you getting value from the game.

The Lee Sedol ladder game leaps to mind. There must be oodles of commentary out there in various languages. Nick Sibicky’s run through of it is quite entertaining.



Good guidance! Thanks.

I was wondering about that one but maybe a little too atypical?

Well, you can watch game reviews of course (you’ll find a host of pro-reviewed games on the AGA channel or this channel providing translated NHK broadcasts); I for one am a little too impatient to watch those hour-long things and couldn’t remember what was said anyway, so I’m more in the rote repetition camp.

I started memorizing simply because I didn’t want to look up the next move everytime when replaying pro games, because that seriously breaks my concentration and flow.

1 Like

this site http://gostyle.j2m.cz/webapp.html allows you to upload a batch of SGF of games you played. i think they require art least 20 and not more than 40. your name has to be part of all SGF files.
after analysing the games, the programm will provide an estimation of your rank and try to qualify your playstyle (i.e. territorial vs. influential), based on common move patterns and shapes. it will point out recurring mistakes, such as pushing from behind and others. you will also get a list recommended literature and lists of pro players your style is similar and different from in order to replay their games.

i have no idea how accurate this is, since it is simplifying things a terrible lot, but if nothing else it should be fun :smiley:.


The games I remembered the most, when I first began studying professional games, were those with rich commentary by professionals, because they added color to the games and presented memorable ideas and concepts. For example, when you read about the 40th Oza Final through the commentary in “Tournament Go 1992” you learn that title defender, great veteran player Fujisawa Hideyuki, was a chronic alcoholic who would sober up once a year to defend his title. The challenger, on the other hand, was the top contemporary player Kobayashi Koichi who, at the time, had won every single major title except for the Oza and, of course, the Honinbo. Surprisingly, it was the fist time these two were meeting in a title match. This generated a lot of interest and elevated the 40th Oza Final to one of 1992’s high-profile matches. What results is a five game, psychological blood-bath – with many professionals voting game three “The Game of the Year.”


The games between Shusaku and his master Shuwa are awesome. The opening is a bit old fashioned ( but still played and popular between ama players) but the moves are 99% perfect, I think because they had a lot of time to play.

They carry a lot of commentaries (see “Invincible” one of the best go books in English, especially for the prize Vs quality!)

In a second lecture these games are said to be best school for studying the endgame.


Thank you everyone - @logan3 that is a great insight and I’m feeling I have a winner with that one!
I’m already feeling I need to aim for memorising more than one game now! thanks for the inspiration everyone.

1 Like

Interesting tool. My results are as follows:


Could a more experienced player explain the results? I understand the estimated strength, recommended study material and that I should focus more on sente, but the style (what is shinogi?), listed professionals and patterns are a little over my head.





Let’s use an analogy. Suppose I want to analyze your fashion style and compare it to famous people’s style. There are many different ways to do it but I choose to sample your sweatshirts and jeans. From those samples, I collect the color patterns (unicolor, plaid, abstract, image) and compare them to a database of assorted "celebrities’ " photos. If your wardrobe mostly consists of grey T-shirts, you’ll get matched with Zuckerboy, etc.

In this case the fashion is shape and the elements are keima, ogeima, etc. I don’t know the algorithm but I’d think it uses heuristics for classification, such as “plays mostly 4th line and above in the first 25 moves = moyo”. Whatever convoluted stuff the creators did to make their program spit out a number, they fed it a lot of pro games to have something to compare your results to. Whatever that may be… you’d have to read the code or the whitepaper (if there is one).

The three patterns are as follows:

  • if there are two opposite-color stones “a keima apart”, strong players tend to play moves that are 1-space jumps relative to their own stone and keima relative to the opposite-color stone fairly frequently; you seem to do this in only 2 of the 20 matches you provided
  • strong players tend to frequently play moves that are keima relative to an opposite-color stone, you do this less frequently
  • strong players also tend to play more frequently moves that are keima relative to another friendly stone as well as keima relative to an opposite-color stone, which is kosumi relative to the initial opposite-color stone

I hope that cleared up all confusion. :smirk:


Just choose a pro game by the pro player you love the most, and

  • Mandatory: with his commantory by himself, the richest possible;
  • Prefered: the most importement game of his life, ex. the world championship game, with some story behind;
  • Prefered: with pro commantories by other pro players the richest possible, ideally with some videos;
  • Prefered: with AI analysis, such as Leela Zero by yourself on your computer, in order to make clear all your doubts;
  • Optional: such like play style, game style, very close game etc…

Maybe i play the go game too long time?there are lots of game can be choice here,but if for the most i should say that the below game maybe are the only one, why? because in this game,the pro make a mistake in the ladder break,then the game only not than 60 moves:

Don‘t astonish,pro also make mistake in ladder break

1 Like

I tried twice to memorise pro games.

The first time, I studied the games of Honinbo Shuei, from 1880 which is around the time that he began to become a strong professional. I managed to learn five – ten games to something like 100 moves in; it was easier because some of the games were resigned early on or left unfinished.

The second time, I tried very intensively to memorise Honinbo Jowa’s first recorded game, in which he gave three stones to an amateur ( http://ps.waltheri.net/database/game/41530/ ). On a (very) good day, I could take it up to (154), the start of a certain ko fight, but I’d get lost in the fight itself and never get to its end on (189).

Of course, I’ve forgotten all of these due to not practicing them.

I agree with @violaine that Shuwa would be a good professional from whom to memorise. Arguably he was the strongest player between Dosaku (died 1702) and Shuei (say, on reaching 7d in 1886). It’s become clear to me that he was stronger than his teacher, Jowa, and Shusaku refused to take White against him so we cannot know their relative strengths for sure.

Shuwa didn’t attack as much as Jowa and Shuho, so his games might be good if you want to study peaceful play, especially if his opponent is Shusaku as suggested.


Thanks @bugcat, I was recently thinking about how I should have another go at this. Sadly I only got as far as finding a kifu but never actually made time to try and memorise it. But I recently bought Invincible so will now see what games are in there against Shuwa.
Main problem will be that I now work and am even more limited in time and brain capacity than before!


Did you ever get the time to attempt memorising those games?

1 Like

Don’t know how good your memory is, but maybe start with a short game?
You can always go for a longer game later.

1 Like

It’s more than 30 years ago, but I still remember which game I memorised first. My level at the time must have been about 5k.
It was the game featuring in the book The Master Of Go.
From reading the book, I was already familiar with the game, so it was not too hard to memorise it completely after finishing the book.